Genome editing is now more efficient, precise, and flexible, contributing to the improvement of human health around the globe. Recent revolutionary advances like CRISPR have allowed for gene editing at both the somatic and germline level. However, the speed at which these technologies are being developed and used has many policymakers and stakeholders concerned about whether appropriate systems are in place to govern them. Our reports examine potential benefits and risks of these technologies, and present general principles for the governance of genetic engineering.
Human Genome Editing: Science, Ethics, and Governance
Genome editing is a powerful new tool for making precise alterations to an organism’s genetic material. Recent scientific advances have made genome editing more efficient, precise, and flexible than ever before. These advances have spurred an …
Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects
Genetically engineered (GE) crops were first introduced commercially in the 1990s. After two decades of production, some groups and individuals remain critical of the technology based on their concerns about possible adverse effects on human …
Advances in scientific research help improve, lengthen and save the lives of many around the world. However, research-driven studies can present risks to subjects, the research enterprise, and our communities. In order to maintain the quality of the research laboratory, protections are needed to preserve participants’ dignity and prevent potential harms. Our reports review the existing ethical and legal guidelines, and consider the opportunities and challenges that face participant-based research.
Ethical Conduct of Clinical Research Involving Children
In recent decades, advances in biomedical research have helped save or lengthen the lives of children around the world. With improved therapies, child and adolescent mortality rates have decreased significantly in the last half century. Despite these advances, pediatricians and others argue …
Ethical Considerations for Research Involving Prisoners
In the past 30 years, the population of prisoners in the United States has expanded almost 5-fold, correctional facilities are increasingly overcrowded, and more of the country’s disadvantaged populations— minorities, women, people with mental illness, and people with communicable …
For the past century, humans have contributed to the changes observed in coastal environments. With approximately 40% of the world’s population residing near a coast, our impact on these diverse and sensitive zones creates long-lasting effects. These reports examine the dynamic relationship between humans and coastal ecosystems, and provide recommendations to reduce our footprint moving forward.
Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative
No person or place is immune from disasters or disaster-related losses. Infectious disease outbreaks, acts of terrorism, social unrest, or financial disasters in addition to natural hazards can all lead to large-scale consequences for the nation and its communities. Communities and the nation …
Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts
Hurricane- and coastal-storm-related losses have increased substantially during the past century, largely due to increases in population and development in the most susceptible coastal areas. Climate change poses additional threats to coastal communities from sea level rise and possible …
Synthetic biology allows and promotes the production or alteration of biological organisms, often for beneficial purposes like reducing diseases and improving agricultural output. While well-intentioned, this innovative field also presents potential risks that could leave many populations vulnerable and threaten livelihoods. Our reports examine the opportunities and concerns surrounding synthetic biology, and offer recommendations to guide this discussion and address these challenges.
Biodefense in the Age of Synthetic Biology
Scientific advances over the past several decades have accelerated the ability to engineer existing organisms and to potentially create novel ones not found in nature. Synthetic biology, which collectively refers to concepts, approaches, and …
Preparing for Future Products of Biotechnology
Between 1973 and 2016, the ways to manipulate DNA to endow new characteristics in an organism (that is, biotechnology) have advanced, enabling the development of products that were not previously possible. What will the likely future products of …
Released on Tuesday, Sexual Harassment of Women focuses on one of many roadblocks to the recruitment, retention, and promotion of women in academia. The reports listed below explore these issues and offer recommendations to better support women in these roles.
Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Over the last few decades, research, activity, and funding has been devoted to improving the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in the fields of science, engineering, and medicine. In recent years the diversity of those participating in these fields, particularly the participation …
Career Choices of Female Engineers: A Summary of a Workshop
Despite decades of government, university, and employer efforts to close the gender gap in engineering, women make up only 11 percent of practicing engineers in the United States. What factors influence women graduates’ decisions to enter the engineering workforce and either to stay in or leave …
Climate change continues to pose significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems. The current warming trend is growing at an unprecedented rate – this year the U.S. saw its warmest May on record. Our collection of reports emphasize the importance of 21st century choices regarding long-term climate stabilization through improving understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change and expanding the options available to limit the magnitude of climate change.
Climate Change: Evidence and Causes
Climate Change: Evidence and Causes is a jointly produced publication of The US National Academy of Sciences and The Royal Society. Written by a UK-US team of leading climate scientists and reviewed by climate scientists and others, the publication is intended as a brief, readable …
Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises
Climate is changing, forced out of the range of the past million years by levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases not seen in the Earth’s atmosphere for a very, very long time. Lacking action by the world’s nations, it is clear that the planet will be warmer, sea level will rise, and …
Arctic Matters: The Global Connection to Changes in the Arctic
Viewed in satellite images as a jagged white coat draped over the top of the globe, the high Arctic appears distant and isolated. But even if you don’t live there, don’t do business there, and will never travel there, you are closer to the Arctic than you think. Arctic Matters: The Global …
Enhancing Participation in the U.S. Global Change Research Program
The US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is a collection of 13 Federal entities charged by law to assist the United States and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change. As the understanding of global change has evolved …
The Arctic in the Anthropocene: Emerging Research Questions
Once ice-bound, difficult to access, and largely ignored by the rest of the world, the Arctic is now front and center in the midst of many important questions facing the world today. Our daily weather, what we eat, and coastal flooding are all interconnected with the future of the Arctic. The …
America’s Climate Choices
Climate change is occurring. It is very likely caused by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities, and poses significant risks for a range of human and natural systems. And these emissions continue to increase, which will result in further change and greater …
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) determines our ability to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. Recognizing the essential role this process plays in a child’s development, a growing number of schools and districts are incorporating SEL into their strategic plans and curricula. Our reports serve as resources to guide this implementation and discuss the science behind SEL.
Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How
The assessment of young children’s development and learning has recently taken on new importance. Private and government organizations are developing programs to enhance the school readiness of all young children, especially children from …
Building Capacity to Reduce Bullying: Workshop Summary
Bullying – long tolerated as just a part of growing up – finally has been recognized as a substantial and preventable health problem. Bullying is associated with anxiety, depression, poor school performance, and future delinquent behavior among …
Cities have experienced an unprecedented rate of growth in the last decade, and this continued growth highlights the importance of a sustainable future. More than half the world’s population lives in urban areas, with the U.S. percentage at 80 percent. Cities have captured more than 80 percent of the globe’s economic activity and offered social mobility and economic prosperity to millions by clustering creative, innovative, and educated individuals and organizations. Clustering populations, however, can compound both positive and negative conditions, with many modern urban areas experiencing growing inequality, debility, and environmental degradation. Our reports recommend strategies and pathways that will aid in the ongoing development of urban planning.
Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity
In the United States, some populations suffer from far greater disparities in health than others. Those disparities are caused not only by fundamental differences in health status across segments of the population, but also because of inequities …
Transportation Systems for Livable Communities
TRB’s Conference Proceedings on the Web 6: Transportation Systems for Livable Communities summarizes the results of an October 2010 conference that explored the challenges of incorporating livability into transportation programs and …
The International Day of Light recognizes the anniversary of the first successful operation of the laser in 1960 by physicist and engineer, Theodore Maiman. We acknowledge this day in history in an effort to improve the public understanding of how light and light-based technologies touch our daily lives beyond scientific applications, including aspects of art, culture, entertainment. Our publications explore these technologies and highlight their importance to the future development of our global society.
Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation
Optics and photonics technologies are ubiquitous: they are responsible for the displays on smart phones and computing devices, optical fiber that carries the information in the internet, advanced precision manufacturing, enhanced defense capabilities, and a plethora of medical diagnostics tools. …
Assessment of Solid-State Lighting, Phase Two
The standard incandescent light bulb, which still works mainly as Thomas Edison invented it, converts more than 90% of the consumed electricity into heat. Given the availability of newer lighting technologies that convert a greater percentage of electricity into useful light, there is potential …